Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, government, public policy, sports scene and pop culture of Europe, Sweden, the U.S. & South Florida. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura.
Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

More tangible proof of how reluctant the news media in South Florida is to directly challenge Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and report negative news stories about her, even when there's lots of facts to back it up, including court documents. And, how desperate DWS was to have a new FL-23 that was loaded with as many Jewish voters as possible, regardless of what Broward voters actually wanted: Fair Districts

More tangible proof of how reluctant the news media in South Florida is to directly challenge Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and report negative news stories about her, even when there's lots of facts to back it up, including court documents.
Romo v. Scott court documents prove that my friends and I live in one of “the most gerrymandered congressional districts” in the U.S., FL-23, in large part because Rep.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz laughs privately at the high-minded rhetoric of and expressed angst of Fair Districts proponents, as well as the Florida League of Women Voters, Common Cause Florida and La Raza.

She's just smart enough not to laugh at them publicly where she can be caught on camera engaging in her hypocrisy.

Despite all the proof in the world that the South Florida news media is ignoring this court case up in Tallahassee, the actual facts of this case prove rather conclusively, as I have argued and previously written here over the past few years, that regardless of the sentiment of voters, DWS wanted an un-competitive and unfair Congressional District drawn up that was loaded with as many Jewish voters as possible.

For more on that, see my November 22, 2011 blog post titled, No Fair Districts here: Surprise! NAACP's proposed 2012 map keeps HB & Hollywood divided: Blacks given to Frederica Wilson, Jews to DWS; told ya!

She wanted that even if that meant intentionally dividing counties, towns or precincts rather than keeping them intact, as FairDistrictsFlorida.org and Good Govt. types publicly argued for in their public redistricting campaigns of 2011-2012 for Amendment 6, which passed overwhelmingly.

But DWS didn't care a whit about what the voters of Florida and Broward wanted, she wanted a congressional district that required little personal presence or high-maintenance.
A CD which would allow her to continue to remain a prominent National Democrat figure who could fly around the country giving speeches and raising money -and appearing on TV!- NOT be burdened by old-fashioned notions of public service or or even parochial concerns like re-election.

DWS wanted what she wanted and she wanted it badly, regardless of the fact that the overwhelming majority of voters in Florida, Broward County and her own district wanted Fair Districts with reasonable standards
Now we know how badly she wanted it.

To configure a fanciful map to her personal liking, one that ignored the interests of citizens wanting to NOT be divided by race or ethnicity or see their community's historical integrity
sub-divided, required her & consultants and allies "to scoop as many Jews out of Tamarac and Sunrise as they can” to quote emails of Democratic Party consultants that have been released
So that's exactly what DWS did, with the stealthy cooperation of other powerful Broward Democratic pols. 

So why is the South Florida news media ignoring this? 
And, the Florida League of Women Voters, its Broward chapter and Common Cause Florida
Why are they so quiet about having been played for suckers by DWS and her pals?

Washington Free Beacon
Gerrymanders Gone Wild
Dem congressmen oversaw Florida gerrymander, emails reveal 
By C.J. Ciaramella
April 5, 2013 3:29 pm

Florida Democrats coordinated with national party organizations and consultants in early 2012 to gerrymander congressional districts despite a state ban on such activities, emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show.

The top state and national party leaders, including Florida congressmen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutsch, and Alecee Hastings, signed off on the gerrymandered maps, according to the emails released during court discovery in Romo v. Scott, a legal challenge to redistricting maps that the GOP-controlled state legislature approved in 2012.
Read the rest of the article, complete with the damning emails at:

This bit of news closely followed three weeks later with something we'd first read at Sunshine State News on March 19th, below, which we found interesting enough to send its link it along to some friends around the state as a sign that there was much more here than first meets the eye.

Unfortunately and yet typically, the South Florida news media was doing their best to avoid reporting on, you know, like real facts from real emails that get to the heart of the matter.

But then you already know from what I've written here so many times previously, with specific examples, how the South Florida new media is cowed by DWS and will literally jump on a thrown hand-grenade for her, in order to stay on her good side, especially the reporters and management at the Sun-Sentinel.

Wasserman Schultz, Nan Rich, Rod Smith Tried to Gerrymander; Blamed GOP for Doing Same
By Eric Giunta
Posted: March 19, 2013 3:55 AM
Court documents obtained by Sunshine State News show that top Florida Democrats were involved in just the sort of activity they are accusing Republicans of: gerrymandering districts to increase their candidates' electoral prospects.

Curiously, at least to me, Mary Ellen Klas of the Times/Herald, subject of this post
wrote on February 4th about the facts that had emerged thus far with the GOP's efforts to ensure more GOP districts within the Sunshine State,

Emails show legislative staff and RPOF talked about redistricting despite ban
Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Monday, February 4, 2013 7:12pm
Florida’s legislative leaders appear to have authorized their staff to use private email accounts, secret “dropboxes” and to engage in “brainstorming meetings” with Republican Party of Florida consultants in attempting to draw favorable political districts, despite a constitutional ban on such coordination. 
The allegations arise from a lawsuit challenging the Senate and congressional redistricting that include emails showing how top deputies of Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford and several of Gaetz’s consultants were in frequent contact with consultants who drafted and analyzed maps. Redistricting is done every 10 years to redraw boundaries of legislative and congresssional districts to ensure equal representation.
Read the rest of the post at:

But Klas has written nothing at all in the two intervening months about the more recent documents released that have proven so revealing about the facts and intentions of Democrats Nan Rich, Alcee Hastings, Ted Deutsch and DWS, even while the Miami Herald's Marc Caputo has.

Naked Politics blog
Miami Herald
Insider emails show FL Democrats wanted to gerrymander redistricting just like GOP
By Marc A. Caputo
March 5, 2013
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/03/insider-emails-show-fl-democrats-tried-to-gerrymander-redistricting-just-like-gop.html##storylink=cpy
Florida Democrats plotted with top leaders and consultants to redraw congressional districts to benefit their party, according to new court records that show they were just as interested in gerrymandering as Republicans.
Democratic-leaning groups are challenging the new congressional maps in court, saying Republicans broke a state constitutional amendment by drawing districts that favored or disfavored political parties and incumbents.
Read the rest of the post at: 

Why the disparity in coverage by Klaas?

Just so you know, I've spend some time researching and now can tell you how many original news stories on the facts involved in the Romo v. Scott court case have actually appeared in the news media of her Congressional District, and specifically what DWS did.
And by original, I mean something created or produced by the actual staff of those media organizations, not the Associated Press dispatches they throw on their websites that few readers or viewers ever see:

CBS-4, NBC6, Channel 7(Fox) and Channel 10 (ABC) or the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: ZERO.
Not just ZERO each, ZERO collectively.
Welcome to the not-so-curious world of the South Florida news media of 2013! 

Not so much watchdogs as lapdogs, esp. when it comes to DWS.

Since they aren't inclined towards doing any old-fashioned reporting on this subject, here's a good place to start:

As for FairDistrictsFlorida.org, whom I became very publicly disillusioned with last year after they completely failed to prepare to hold or co-host any sort of public forum in Broward County prior to visits by the traveling Florida Senate Redistricting Committee, you can see their comments here: http://www.fairdistrictsnow.org/home/
I no longer trust what they say -just like I don't trust anything said by DWS.

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Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach and Hollywood.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect.
This is particularly true in the town I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, just north of Aventura and south of Hollywood. There, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent.
Sadly for its residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with lots of potential because of its terrific location, yet its citizens have become numb to its outrages and screw-ups after years of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, they wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog that could do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable but skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.

Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY here among Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru simple public scrutiny, or requires a degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of incompetency, cronyism or simple negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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Some older elements and building blocks formerly seen at Hallandale Beach Blog, such as photos, graphics and videos have been moved into cold storage. Visit them again or see what you've missed at: http://hallandale-beach-blog.blogspot.com/

New this year: you!

New this year: you!
Close-up photo of the cute head-turning window display at the Apotek Hjärtat -Sweden's largest independent pharmacy chain- located at Ringvägen 113, near the Skanstull T-bana in Södermalm, Stockholm. Sign reads, "Årets nyhet: du! Ett helt nytt och obrukat år är här. Just nu känns det lite lättare att välja om, förändra vanor och bryta gamla mönster. Vi hjälper gärna till. Du vill, du kan, du törs!' (New this year: you! A brand new and unused year is here. Right now it feels a little easier to choose, change habits and break old patterns. We're happy to help. You want to, you can, you dare!) Sounds like good advice that I ought to be following, too! January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Paradise Lost? South Florida

Paradise Lost? South Florida
TIME magazine of November 23, 1981: Paradise Lost? South Florida . Click photo to see original article.

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL

A fish rots from the head down, and so does local government in Hallandale Beach, FL
City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex, 400 S. Federal Highway. The City of Hallandale Beach Municipal Complex: If it's true that a fish rots from the head down, so it does in local government in Broward County, FL. This monument sign on the west side of the intersection of U.S.-1 and S.E. 5th Street, across from Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and the Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex, alerts you to your proximity to HB City Hall and the HB Police Department HQ. It's a place and culture whose very own words and actions have made clear to taxpayers of this city -regardless of age, race or income- that it holds itself apart from and above from the very citizens it's supposed to serve, often acting like they don't have to follow the same laws that govern everyone else in the state of Florida and the U.S., whether of logic, reason or contracts. (More to the point of this blog, the Florida Statutes on Sunshine Laws and Public Records.) City employees in Hallandale Beach routinely refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions posed to them by taxpayers, and as I have found out myself and witnessed, are not above berating you for even having the nerve to ask! As it happens, it's also not a very safe area, despite who operates here, and over the past nine years, the public parking lots have often been pitch-black for 6-9 months at a time, including in front of the HB Police Dept. HQ. Then-Police Chief Thomas Magill even shrugged his shoulders at City Comm. meetings when told about this a few times. As if they couldn't make a worse first impression, at one point, even the spotlights shining on this sign didn't work at night for over FOUR YEARS, either. October 13, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes

Palm tree, Stars & Stripes
Palm tree obstructing the sun at Hallandale Beach City Hall, May 28, 2012 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL

Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and Village at GP retail complex, Hallandale Beach, FL
Entrance monument to Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex on U.S.-1 & SE 3rd St. Hallandale Beach, FL. October 5, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Hallandale Beach Water Tower, looking east from State Road A1A/South Ocean Drive; May 2009 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)

Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard)
Singer/songwriter Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) wearing the teal-colored Miami Dolphins cap I gave her in January 2013 (in Stockholm) while recording her 2nd album, "The Grazing Grounds" at Sandkvie Studios in Visby, Gotland, Sweden. Also pictured here are sound engineer and co-producer Linus Larsson and musician/DJ/co-producer Mats Jönsson, April 12, 2013.Click the photo to see her videos, read my blog posts and Tweets about her and learn more about this dynamic and original talent with personality to spare!

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!

Let's end the 28-year NCAA title drought!
IU All-American and U.S. Olympian Steve Alford on the cover of the 1987 Indiana University basketball media guide, months after IU won the NCAA basketball title.

The NCAA Championship Banners

The NCAA Championship Banners
Assembly Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. I was there in 1981 for NCAA Title #4 vs. North Carolina. Click on photo to go to the IU Basketball homepage.

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot

Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot
Like longtime U-M fans everywhere, including me, Sebastian the Ibis, the U-M mascot, hasn't had very much to cheer about lately, given the general state of mediocrity and underwhelming performances coming from the Hurricanes. Isn't it about time for fans to finally see some tangible signs that the new AD is moving things in the right direction? Where are the signs? I'm NOT seeing them. The woeful U-M Women's program is largely composed of teams that are NOT even close to being competitive for NCAA titles like their ACC competition, and they don't even field Women's Lacrosse or Field Hockey teams. It's embarrassing! Click on Sebastian for retrospective photo gallery of The Orange Bowl


The welcoming party that greeted me at the luggage carousel at Arlanda Stockholm Airport in January of 2013 was... ABBA. As seen in my May 7, 2013 blog post. Click photo to see that post!

Congratulations Sweden - 200 years of peace! Solveig Rundquist (@RundquistS)


Hej #STHLM, jag saknar dig, hejdå. So wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

Using a map of Stockholm and my Samsung mobile's Latitude app to find out where some friends and contacts in Stockholm were before I called to let them know I'd arrived from Arlanda Airport and had checked into the B&B in Södermalm. If only it had been an OpenStreetMap! January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved; Click the photo to see OpenStreetMap's amazing map of Stockholm and a whole world of useful maps you never even knew existed

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök

Solrea - Sveriges bästa resesök
The colder and snowier it got in Stockholm, the more this simple ad seemed like genius. Sometimes, you don't have to reinvent the advertising wheel. When you're a travel agency and it's cold and snowing, make your target audience think of summers and traveling to an inviting warm beach. Above, one of the many Sistaminuten.se display ads I saw on the side of pay phones throughout Stockholm. This one was located on Ringvägen, across the street from the Åhléns Dept. store (with the Hemköp grocery store in the basement that I frequented) west of busy Götgatan and the Skanstull T-bana, the southern commercial heart of trendy and fun Södermalm. January 11, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. I used this photo in my April 22, 2013 blog post titled, Tourism game-changer for South Florida travelers & Fort Lauderdale-area businesses -but only if they're smart and start planning now. Ruminations on the upcoming Norwegian.com flights b/w Ft. Lauderdale and Oslo, Stockholm & Copenhagen, and the need for Broward's hospitality industry to take full-advantage of the opportunity; @Oslo, @norway, @stockholm, @sweden, @copenhagen, @denmark. Click photo to see that post

More travel advertising in Stockholm

More travel advertising in Stockholm
Speaking of advertising, only two blocks from the wonderful 4trappor B&B I stayed at in Södermalm, Stockholm on my trip -and also located on Ringvägen- were two more display ads promoting travel. The one in the distance is for SAS, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, which I flew on to Stockholm, and the one in the foreground, on a public telephone booth, is the "Holiday is where the Heart is" ad campaign for VING. January 12, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. Click the photo to see their TV ad!

Risk för snöras, istappar

Risk för snöras, istappar
One of the many such warning signs that I saw on buildings and on sidewalk barricades while in Stockholm in mid-January 2013, alerting you to the possibility of falling snow and ice, often by men shoveling it off roofs. This one was spotted on a residential building in the Södermalm area of Stockholm, on Ringvägen, while I was walking over to the Åhléns Department store on Götgatan. It wasn't until I was walking back later to the B&B that I noticed the inflated Santa that some resident had intentionally placed outside of their window, so it looked like Santa was falling! January 13, 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier.© 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden

Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden
Poster display on Ringvägen, Stockholm, Sweden. January 2013 photo by South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved. The Affischplats plan in Stockholm, while not perfect, strikes me as a pretty good compromise in helping cultural and civic groups catch the public's eye in a way that's better than a free-for-all of groups plastering posters on the sides of buildings and utility boxes, and watching as the weather makes a mess of them. The tangible effort the city makes to get the public involved in a genuine and meaningful conversation about what is going on long-term for the city as a whole, or in a particular neighborhood, is very impressive, and made me wishful that the local government employees and planners where I live and write about regularly in my blog and in conversations with other concerned civic activists did even one-third of what Stockholm's planning employees seem to do as a starting-point.